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Do Tax Havens Flourish?

In: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 19

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  • James R. Hines Jr.

Abstract

Tax haven countries offer foreign investors low tax rates and other tax features designed to attract investment and thereby stimulate economic activity. Major tax havens have less than one percent of the world's population (outside the United States), and 2.3 percent of world GDP, but host 5.7 percent of the foreign employment and 8.4 percent of foreign property, plant and equipment of American firms. Per capita real GDP in tax haven countries grew at an average annual rate of 3.3 percent between 1982 and 1999, which compares favorably to the world average of 1.4 percent. Tax haven governments appear to be adequately funded, with an average 25 percent ratio of government to GDP that exceeds the 20 percent ratio for the world as a whole, though the small populations and relative affluence of these countries would normally be associated with even larger governments. Whether the economic prosperity of tax haven countries comes at the expense of higher tax countries is unclear, though recent research suggests that tax haven activity stimulates investment in nearby high-tax countries.
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Suggested Citation

  • James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Do Tax Havens Flourish?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 19, pages 65-100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:0165
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    4. Hanlon, Michelle & Heitzman, Shane, 2010. "A review of tax research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 127-178, December.
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    6. James Alm & Mir Ahmad Khan, 2008. "Assessing Enterprise Taxation and the Investment Climate in Pakistan," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0810, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    7. Keller, Sara & Schanz, Deborah, 2013. "Tax attractiveness and the location of German-controlled subsidiaries," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 142, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    8. Patrice Pieretti & Giuseppe Pulina, 2015. "Tax havens under international pressure: How do they react?," DEM Discussion Paper Series 15-03, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
    9. Robert E. Lipsey, 2009. "Measuring International Trade in Services," NBER Chapters, in: International Trade in Services and Intangibles in the Era of Globalization, pages 27-70, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Schwarz, Peter, 2011. "Money launderers and tax havens: Two sides of the same coin?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 37-47, March.
    11. Bucovetsky, S., 2014. "Honor among tax havens," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 74-81.
    12. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 11717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    14. Robert E. Lipsey, 2010. "Measuring The Location Of Production In A World Of Intangible Productive Assets, Fdi, And Intrafirm Trade," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(s1), pages 99-110, June.
    15. Scott D. Dyreng & Bradley P. Lindsey, 2009. "Using Financial Accounting Data to Examine the Effect of Foreign Operations Located in Tax Havens and Other Countries on U.S. Multinational Firms' Tax Rates," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 1283-1316, December.
    16. Zakariya Chabani & Mona Hamed, 2015. "Tax competition’s role in economic development," EY International Congress on Economics II (EYC2015), November 5-6, 2015, Ankara, Turkey 202, Ekonomik Yaklasim Association.
    17. Li Liu & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr & Dongxian Guo, 2020. "International Transfer Pricing and Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Linked Trade-Tax Statistics in the United Kingdom," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 766-778, October.
    18. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Hines Jr., James R., 2009. "Which countries become tax havens?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1058-1068, October.
    19. Hsun Chu & Ching-Chong Lai & Chu-Chuan Cheng, 2015. "Tax Havens, Growth, and Welfare," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(6), pages 802-823, December.
    20. Butkiewicz, James L. & Gordon, Leo-Rey C., 2013. "The Economic Growth Effect of Offshore Banking in Host Territories: Evidence from the Caribbean," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 165-179.
    21. Ylönen, Matti & Laine, Matias, 2015. "For logistical reasons only? A case study of tax planning and corporate social responsibility reporting," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 5-23.
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    23. Michael Brei, 2013. "Offshore financial centers in the Caribbean: An overview," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-40, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    24. Robert E. Lipsey, 2007. "Defining and Measuring the Location of FDI Output," NBER Working Papers 12996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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